Christina Alibozek: Bordeaux Exchange Program
These were the words at the forefront of my mind as I sat on the plane home, tear-streaked face, looking down on the city that had become my home for the past 5 months. It was hard to believe that a place I had never even visited before had become so special to me in such a short amount of time. Upon leaving, I was devastated as I replayed the memories from my semester abroad in Bordeaux, France.
It felt like only yesterday that I had arrived on a cold, sunny Saturday in January. I had no idea at the time how much the city, and those who inhabited it, would come to mean to me. After just a few days of exploring the city, I had already begun to feel at home. Bordeaux had a way of making it easy to feel comfortable–it was a large enough city to never be bored, but small enough to still have a favorite café or street corner. Centuries old limestone buildings and cobblestone streets nestled along the river gave Bordeaux the sort of picturesque identity that often comes to mind when imagining life in France. The streets were littered with coffee shops, stores, and boulangeries with the most delicious tartes aux framboises and croissants one could imagine. Living in Bordeaux was literally heaven.
Being on an exchange program in such a lovely city was one contributor to my reluctance at leaving, but the people I met were even more of a cause for my sadness. One of the myriad of benefits of going on an exchange program was that I got the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. Not only did I meet other French students who attended the university I was studying at, I also got to meet other exchange students from all over the world, including Europe, South America, Asia, and Africa. It was amazing to meet and learn so much about all of these different cultures. I made lifelong friends with students from France, Portugal, Germany, Brazil — and the list goes on and on. This was something I wasn’t expecting going into my study abroad program, but was by far the best part of the experience. The close bond shared between our group of exchange students is one that I will always cherish.
So, while my time in Bordeaux flew by and eventually came to an end, the memories I made there will last a lifetime. I can honestly say that my exchange program in Bordeaux, France was one of, if not the, best experiences of my life. Bordeaux, I hope to see you again someday!